Pakistan has been changing demography of PoK, Gilgit Baltistan: Activists

Washington DC, United StatesUpdated: Aug 01, 2019, 10:51 PM IST

File photo. Photograph:(Reuters)

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Islamabad has gradually diluted its constitution in order to facilitate outsiders to grab the land and resources of illegally occupied areas.

Political activists have accused Pakistan of changing the demography of Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in disregard to its own commitments.

Islamabad has gradually diluted its constitution in order to facilitate outsiders to grab the land and resources of illegally occupied areas.

Islamabad abolished the State Subject Rule in Gilgit Baltistan in 1984, which resulted in demographic changes in the territory.

People from different parts of Pakistan are free to purchase land there.

"Pakistan has never kept its end of the bargain when comes to Jammu and Kashmir. It has encroached on the land of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK). It has awarded the land of PoJK to China. It is changing the local demography that further violates the State Subject Rule," said Senge H. Sering from the Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies in Washington.

On August 29, 2009, the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, was passed which granted limited autonomy, by creating, among other things, an elected Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly and Gilgit-Baltistan Council.

This was overridden by Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018 which entrusted Pakistan with indisputable authority over the region. The order is seen as Islamabad's efforts towards incorporating the disputed region as its fifth province.

Currently, Gilgit-Baltistan is neither a province nor a state. It has a semi-provincial status.

Senge added that Islamabad has designs to exploit the resources and cash-in the geo-strategic advantages of the region.

"It robs the locals off their resources. It denies them jobs and services. It has never paid royalty on local water resources. It never pays tolls on local transit routes. All these activities are illegal and not acceptable," he said.

Meanwhile, Jamil Maqsood, Central Secretary (Foreign Affairs) of the United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) from Brussels, said, "The erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was divided because of expansionists' designs of Pakistan. And since then people are suffering an endless irony under the undemocratic rule of Pakistan".

"Our education, health, infrastructure and society have been destroyed. Our natural resources have been plundered since a long time. There is no employment for the educated youth," he added.

It is believed that the Pakistani military has been systematically carrying out operations to keep the people of Gilgit Baltistan and PoK underdeveloped and underprivileged.

"They recruit young men to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and other terrorist groups operating from the soil of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan," Maqsood said. "Most of the educated people have also been recruited by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) to propagate in favour of the Pakistani establishment and that is a very dangerous phenomenon," he added.